Photo of the Week: Fact vs. Fiction

Have you noticed the recent articles in the New York Times about staged photographs, specifically the veracity of Robert Capa's famous Falling Soldier photo? As this NYT blog post and anyone who deals with historical photographs can tell you, photographers 'enhancing' their subject matter is nothing new.
The Carter has several 19th century photographs where the action is most certainly staged:

Alexander Gardner, Home of a Rebel Sharpshooter, Gettysburg, albumen silver print, 1863
This is the same photograph described in the second NYT link. Gardner made the mistake of taking two photographs of the same soldier in different locations.

William Notman, Asleep at the Cabana, albumen silver print, ca. 1865
This 'outdoor' scene was set up inside the photographer’s studio!
Edited to add: This photo is on view in the Carter's photography galleries until January 2010 as part of the exhibition Masterworks of American Photography: Moments in Time.

Unknown artist, [Soldiers in staged fight], ambrotype with applied color, ca. 1863
This medium’s slow exposure speed tells us this fight is staged – "action" shots were impossible with the technology of the time.


I always read your blog on a regular basis and enjoy all that you put up.

Can you please email me with the name of who to contact for docent programs? I asked the front staff person a couple of weeks ago when I was there and she gave me a name (an education person)_ and told me to go onsite and email and I've never heard a response.

I have docent experience from other cities and would love to be a docent at the Amon Carter. I watched two docents give a tour when I was there that day...


Hi Ann,

Thank you for your interest in our docent program! Please contact the Carter's Distance Learning and Docent Program Manager Nancy Strickland at for more information.

Stacy Fuller
Head of Education

Do you have any good examples of staged photographs that feature American Indians?

Not that I'm aware of, but I will look around and see what I can find!

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